At the end of 2004, i decided to build my own pc, after 3 months of research i finally settled on what i wanted, and could afford. After some great help i got though new Groups i essentially told intel to get stuffed and went down the AMD route. Its not the best, system in the world performance wise, but it looks cool, and does the job. I reused most of the parts from my older system, but if you use second hand parts from that great place we like to call ebay, then you could do it too. The simple secret is avoid name brands, and use real cheap suppliers, like Dabs, Micro Direct or Ebuyer. The rule regarding cheap components only lifts if; A) or an overclocker, B)Benchmark freak, C)Run your pc at load for extented periods of time eg. 6-12 hours +(crap PSU's will kill your system.

Although it used to sound like a rocket(due to a total of 7 fans!) its not too bad now that i swapped two of those 80mm fans for a big 120mm one at the front. With the cooler on its lowest seeting i get idle CPU temperatures of 44c and system temperatures of 33c. With the fan at its highest the cpu temperatures go down to 38c, thats the same as the average water cooled system, (however, those are normally oc'd and a lot quieter). At load the temperatures go up to around 48c, at the time of writting i had only installed the new cooler the day before, so the temperatures may well get better as the thermal paste sets in. As for benchmarks, its no SLI system, in 3dmark 2001 i get around 10000+/-, 3dmark2003 its the higher end of 4000, and in 3dmark 2005 it scrapes 2000. In day to day use it flies, pretty much, i get around 50+ fps in Call of Duty (max settings, 1024x768, no fancy shaders), but i tweak the settings to give me 80+.

As for system modding, i would have loved to cut the window, but i didn't have the tools to do it, and the case was pretty cheap, so i went with it. The only modding i did, was the front panel lighting switch, and cpu cooler controls, and blu-tac'ing the fan in place at the front of the case. I haven't sleved my PSU casue its crap, and i'll change it next time i upgrade. Apart from that i love it.

Slight update, since i orginally put it together i've replaced the Orginal 15GB HDD with a fantastic Western Digital 160GB 8MB cache HDD @7200RPM. Plus i forked out on a massive 19" LCD with a 12ms Response time, which is amazing when i'm playing COD. The new display also meant i could pump up my resolution to 1280 x 1024 which is pretty nice, but hard to get wallpapers for. Currently i hope to double the ram to a cool Gigabyte, and get myself either a 6600GT and overclock to 6800 speeds or a AGP version of X800GT if they ever make one.

I occasionally have dreams about buying an NF7 and trying to get the chip to that golden 200 x 11 sweet spot for a 400 Mhz overclock and 2.2GHz of CPU goodness but i not gonna bother unless one falls in my lap. As for a entire system overhaul, i won't be getting one till AMD's new "M2" socket comes out and matures, so i'm gonna miss the 939 train. Apart from Graphics and ram no more money's going into this unit, although i might splash out on a DVD burner, but i don't really need one, i'm NAS guy at heart.

System components

  • Raidmax Cobra case
  • AMD Sempron 2600+ OC'd @ 2023(184x11)
  • Generic/Corsair 1024MB (1GB) DDR400 CL3 (2.5 3 3 7 @ 184)
  • Gigabyte 7A VT600P-RZ
  • ASUS Nvidia Geforce 6800 128MB(325/350 OC'd @ 400/400)
  • Raidmax PSU rated @ 420watts(more like 390w!)
    • Disc Drives
    • Lite-on DVD-ROM R16x
    • Fujutsu CD-RW R24x W16x RW4x
    1. 160Gb (8MB cache) 7200RPM Western Digital HDD(WD1600JB)
    2. 20Gb 5400RPM Maxtor HDD
  • Floppy Drive
  • 3x 80mm LED fans
  • 1x 120mm LED Fan
  • Arctic Cooler Copper Silent 2L
  • Zalman Copper 7000 VGA Cooler and Ram Heat sinks
  • Dual 12" Cold Cathode Tubes
  • AG Neovo 19" LCD Flat panel with a 12ms response and a native resolution of 1280 x 1024(not pictured)
  • Creative Labs 5.1 System P580 (75 watts)

If this isn't showing up properly in your browser sorry, i hand coded the page in like 10 mins and did no testing what so ever, it looked good in dreamweaver so i ran with it, it's not like this is my coding resume, is it? actually this part is broken in firefox